Fitness & Wellness

Benefits Of Rosemary Water

Benefits Of Rosemary Water

You may have read on the internet or heard about it at your favorite coffee shop in Irvine, CA. There’s a lot of talk about all the benefits of rosemary water. Just what is rosemary and why is it praised? Rosemary is an evergreen herb that lives two years. It’s extremely fragrant and often used to season Mediterranean dishes. While it looks like a small shrub, it’s actually a member of the mint family and shares family ties to basil, thyme, oregano and lavender, other herbs often used for health and flavor benefits.

What about health benefits?

Just sprinkling rosemary in your favorite cuisine will add extra nutrients and flavor, but very few calories. It’s a good source of calcium, iron and even vitamin B-6. In ancient times, when herbs were a popular form of medicine, it was used to help people with muscle pain, illness or weakness and poor memory. In fact, there are recipes today that use oil of rosemary to help boost hair growth by stimulating circulation of blood in the scalp. Recent studies show that consuming rosemary can improve memory.

Is rosemary water good for you to drink?

There’s been a lot of hype about drinking a processed form of rosemary water, with some claims alluding to the reversal of aging. While there are many antioxidants in rosemary, there certainly isn’t one quick fix for cellular damage and death. The antioxidants do help fight off free radicals and rosemary does contain anti-inflammatory compounds that also help protect your system, but there’s more to the story than that.

You can’t get good health out of a bottle. It takes more.

If you’re eating junk and drinking sugary drinks, while living a sedentary lifestyle, drinking a few bottles of rosemary water won’t make the difference you hope to see. Instead of focusing on the quick fix, look to long term lifestyle changes. If you want to add rosemary water to your diet, you can make it yourself. Simply create an infusion by adding rosemary and for more flavor some lemons, cucumbers or grapefruit to the water and store it in the refrigerator for two to eight hours for a refreshing drink.

  • You can make rosemary tea by boiling water on low with sprigs of rosemary in it. Just strain it before drinking or using it as a face wash. It’s also antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial.
  • Consider making rosemary infused vinegar. It’s easy to do. You can use almost any type of vinegar and add extra herbs. Infuse the vinegar, put it in a decorative bottle and let it release its delicious oils into the mixture.
  • You can get too much of a good thing. Too much rosemary can increase your blood pressure, cause vomiting, kidney irritation, uterine bleeding, increased sun sensitivity and even cause allergic reactions.
  • Remember, there is no magic bullet when it comes to good health. Everything you do, eat and stress over has a positive or negative effect on your health. Keep them all positive.

For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness


Is Taking Too Much Potassium Dangerous?

Is Taking Too Much Potassium Dangerous?

There’s an old adage that you can get too much of a good thing. That holds true for many things, including important nutrients, such as potassium. You can get too much potassium and the results can be dangerous. Potassium is a necessary mineral that functions as an electrolyte, too. It helps maintain the body by making muscles work, which includes the heart and breathing muscles. Normally, if you have excess potassium, it’s removed from the blood via the kidneys.

High potassium in the blood is called hyperkalemia.

Too much potassium in the blood is dangerous. It can cause heart attack and even death. However, like many problems in the body, it’s also quite sneaky and doesn’t show symptoms until the problem becomes serious and causes a heart attack or impairs heart health. Kidney disease and failure can impede that removal, which also means too much remains in the blood. However, other things can be linked to the problem, which include dehydration, type 1 diabetes, Addison’s disease and even internal bleeding. Some medications, supplementation, alcohol use and trauma can also cause the problem.

What are the symptoms of high potassium?

While some people have no symptoms at all, others may have tiredness or weakness. Numbness may be another symptom, just as nausea or vomiting is. People can have palpitations, trouble breathing, irregular heartbeats or chest pain. These symptoms may not appear, but if they do, it shows there are very high levels in the blood. Extreme cases can cause paralysis or even heart failure.

If you’re healthy, you don’t need supplements.

Foods that are high in potassium include bananas, beans, milk, melons, orange juice, nuts, potatoes, apricots, beef and cod. If you want to get adequate potassium, make sure you include them in your diet. If you find you have too much potassium limit these foods. Check out the salt substitutes to make sure they aren’t adding to high potassium amounts. If potassium chloride is an ingredient, avoid it if you want to reduce your potassium intake. Commercial baked goods and even sports drinks may be high in potassium.

  • Dehydration can actually increase potassium levels and make them worse. Stay adequately hydrated. Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Keep water with you and sip throughout the day.
  • Make sure any herbal supplements you take don’t add to your potassium intake if you already have a problem. Nettle, alfalfa and dandelion will increase your potassium levels.
  • Rather than self-diagnose, always check with your health care professional. Get regular blood tests if you’re a person at risk for high potassium or ask your health care professional if you should, if you have some of the symptoms.
  • Many of the symptoms of low potassium, such as heart palpitations, muscle cramps, digestive problems, weakness and fatigue, are also symptoms of high potassium. That’s why it’s always best to check with your health care professional rather than self-diagnose.

Contact us today at Next Level Fitness


Are You Looking For A Mass Gain?

Are You Looking For A Mass Gain?

If you come to the gym in Irvine, CA, you know we create individualized programs to meet your needs and goals. While many people just want to be healthier, lose weight or boost their energy level, some want muscle mass gain. Working out to build bigger mass is different from working out to lose weight or getting toned and fit. You have to take in more calories than you burn to do this. While it is possible to lose weight and build muscle mass at the same time, it’s a far slower and more difficult process. Most of the time when losing weight, the goal is to maintain muscle mass.

You need the right type of food eaten to build muscle tissue.

There’s no disagreement that not only how many calories eaten, but also what type of food is important when building muscle mass. For the average person, the body has the potential to build approximately 227 grams of muscle—approximately a half a pound—every week. It takes about 250 to 500 extra calories each day to do that. Anything more than that goes to fat. That should contain one gram of protein for every pound of body weight.

When you eat makes a difference.

You should eat some lean protein approximately 15 to 20 minutes before you do your workout, during your workout or at least an hour afterward to get results. Eating a healthy breakfast, such as eggs, cottage cheese or even protein packed smoothies also helps build mass. Most trainers recommend that you eat approximately every three hours, choosing the normal breakfast, lunch and dinner, but also adding snacks in between the meals. It can help prevent overeating that builds fat, not muscle and prevent overeating or eating unhealthy food.

The way you exercise makes a huge difference.

Strength training is imperative to build muscle mass, so most people focus on weights. Focus on getting stronger by increasing weights, not on more reps. Make your workout more efficient by using compound exercises that work several muscles at once, heavy deadlifts, squats, barbell rows and overhead presses are examples. Barbell workouts trigger more muscle growth. Do strength training three times a week, making certain you give yourself time to recover with a day or two off between workouts.

  • Always start lifting light and learn the proper form before you add more weight. Proper form helps you build more muscle and avoid injury.
  • Consistency is the key. Don’t overdo one week and skip the next. It takes time to build substantial muscle tissue, so make sure your goals are real and achievable.
  • Eat a healthy diet that’s balanced, containing whole foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables and healthy fat. Make sure you drink adequate water to help muscle recovery.
  • Save carbs like whole grains for after a workout. Your personal trainer at Next Level Fitness will help you with a diet and workout routine specific to your needs.

Contact us today at Next Level Fitness


Are Artificial Sweeteners Bad For You?

Are Artificial Sweeteners Bad For You?

There is a lot of talk about the benefits and risks of using artificial sweeteners. There’s also a lot of different types of artificial sweeteners to use. While I’m all for people finding things that help them lose weight, I tend to lean with the group that focuses more on getting sweetness naturally, from fresh fruits, and cutting out any unnecessary added sugar. Whether using a higher calorie sugar that’s natural or one made in the lab, changing eating habits and reducing the amount of sweeteners, natural or artificial, is important.

What are the various types of artificial sweeteners.

While the FDA approved five types of artificial sweeteners, which include acesulfame, saccharin, neotame, aspartame and sucralose, the way each reacts in the body and brain is different and complex. They make changes in the brain and taste buds that affect how we perceive the taste of food. These sweeteners are often far more potent and overstimulate the receptors for sweetness, changing our taste and even affecting how palatable natural sugars like fruit or even low sugar natural food like vegetables are. That can lead to an unhealthy change in diet.

Let them eat cake.

Marie Antoinette could have been a proponent of artificial sweeteners. “So you drank a diet Pepsi! Let them eat cake!” It’s how our minds work. We feel that we saved calories on one thing, so we can splurge on another. Not only do artificial sweeteners trick the palate into desiring sweeter and sweeter foods, trick the mind into thinking the calorie intake is far lower, artificial sweeteners are also just as addictive as sugar.

Studies show your middle will be bigger if you drink a lot of diet drinks.

There are numerous studies that indicate something is going wrong when you use artificial sweeteners. One study focused on diet drinks and found those who drank the most had the largest circumference measurement. Measuring the inches around your middle is an indication of visceral fat, the most unhealthy type of fat. Another study showed that diet drinks increased the risk for metabolic disease by 36% and the risk of type 2 diabetes by 67%.

  • Most of the studies using artificial sweeteners focused on smaller amounts of intake. Many people eat more than just one food item or drink with artificial sweeteners each day. Nobody knows for sure the actual effect those chemicals contained will have over a number of years of use.
  • Some people truly benefit from using artificial sweeteners. Those trying to control weight or blood sugar may find prudent use helpful.
  • Studies published in Stroke—a journal that publishes medical research—showed that people who drank more than 24 ounces of diet cola increased their risk of stroke by 23% over those who drank 12 ounces or less.
  • The human digestive system and microbiome is sensitive to some changes. Changes in gut microbiome via consumption of artificial sweeteners and other lab made foods, could cause other changes in the body. The microbiome affects all functions, including mental health issues.

Contact us today at Next Level Fitness


What To Look For When Hiring A Personal Trainer In The City

What To Look For When Hiring A Personal Trainer In The City

Getting fit is important, that’s why many people use the services of a personal trainer. It’s not always easy to find the right one. That’s why you should consider many different things when hiring a personal trainer. One of the most important things to consider is how comfortable you feel with the trainer. Not every trainer has a personality that will mesh with yours and since you’ll be working closely with that trainer, you want to feel free to ask questions and feel like the trainer’s focus is on your goals and needs. That’s why the first question any trainer should ask is about your goals.

Does your trainer provide a free fitness assessment.

You shouldn’t have to make a commitment before you find out what the trainer believes he or she can do for you. That involves assessing your overall fitness level when you first talk to the trainer. If the trainer doesn’t know how fit you are right now, how can he or she provide more information on what you can ultimately achieve?

Do you get a sampling of the services the trainer offers?

There’s no better way to find out if you and the trainer will form a beneficial relationship than testing it out. That’s one reason we provide a free trial workout. It gives our clients a better idea of how hard they’ll have to work and just how effective the workout can be. Even though it’s a test drive of the services, it should be a personalized workout that focuses on your goals and any special needs, such as physical limitations that might require the trainer to modify the program.

When looking for a trainer in the city, you need to consider their experience and training.

It takes knowledge that comes from education and years of experience to help you reach your goals. One reason people choose the help of a personal trainer is to ensure they’re doing the workout that will help them safely reach their goal more quickly. Our trainers have years of experience and knowledge to ensure you get the program that will bring rapid results.

  • Sometimes, it’s all about personality. That’s one reason we have so many trainers. Finding the right fit for your comfort level is easier when you have a large selection of people with whom to work.
  • Besides working out, many personal goals require other changes, particularly dietary changes. Whether you work with NextLevel Fitness or other personal trainer, ensuring they provide that help is just as important.
  • Finding a personal trainer that works with your schedule is also important. You should be the focus, so having trainers available when you are should be top priority.
  • Whether your goal is to lose weight, build muscle tissue, get healthier or perform at an athletic endeavor better, the trainer should provide a program that helps you do it.

For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness


Plant Based Lifestyle

Plant Based Lifestyle

If you live in Irvine, CA, you may already have sampled “the Impossible Burger” or “Beyond Meat.” These new fast foods are indications that a plant based lifestyle is becoming more popular. Exactly what is a plant-based diet? It focuses on whole-foods, those closest to their natural state. It limits or completely avoids animal products. It includes a wide variety of legumes, whole grains, fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds. There are few refined foods, such as those that contain white flour, processed oil and extra sugar. While not all plant based diets are vegetarian or vegan, all vegetarian and vegan diets are plant based.

Just because it’s made from a plant doesn’t make it healthy.

I recently saw something that made me question what the American diet has become. It was deep-fried breaded sweet corn and a side dish of melted butter to drizzle over it. That’s definitely not a healthy route or in the spirit of plant-based. Corn is a starchy food, and while it can be a small part of the diet. Just like any type of diet, you need a variety of fruits and vegetables in a plant based diet. It should contain green leafy vegetables, plus vegetables of many different colors. Each color provides different micronutrients and phytonutrients that your body requires. You also need a good source of protein, such as lentils, beans or nuts. The key to a healthy plant based diet includes variety and whole foods—-food that is closest to its natural state.

A plant based diet can help you lose weight.

America is fighting a losing battle and that battle is with obesity and losing. A plant based diet can be ammunition in the battle to help take weight off and prevent it from returning. Plant-based diets are higher in fiber and exclude processed food, which goes a long way in helping you shed weight. There are now many studies that show that people on plant-based diets lose more weight than those who are simply cutting calories with non-vegetarian diets.

There are other health benefits to a plant-based diet.

Besides benefiting weight loss, the rich mix of vegetables, fruits, nuts and whole-grains prove beneficial for heart health. It significantly lowers the risk for heart disease, but including sugary drinks like colas, fruit juice or refined grain reduced the benefits it offered. It also lowered the risk for several types of cancer, including gastrointestinal cancer. It also helps prevent cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s.

  • If you have diabetes, a plant-based lifestyle can help manage your diabetes. If you don’t it helps lower the risk of developing it by as much as 34%.
  • While processing can be bad, frozen and canned vegetables without additives are healthy alternatives.
  • A plant based diet includes fruits, vegetables, healthy fat from avocados, coconut or olive oil, legumes, seeds, nuts and nut butters, plant based milk, spices and herbs, plant-based protein and coffee, tea or water.
  • Not all plant-based diets are vegan or vegetarian. Some animal products can supplement it. It can include eggs, poultry, seafood, beef, pork and organic dairy products—preferably from grass fed cows.

For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness


New Year Detox

New Year Detox

Whether you’re worried about all the toxins you consumed over the holidays, considering all the processed food you ate or just want to rid your body of that bloated feeling, a detox might be in order. However, you also need to make sure that what you’re detoxing with is also a healthy option, unlike the lemonade or cabbage soup detox, you can cleanse your system and get healthier in the process. Always check with your health care professional first to ensure it won’t interfere with medication or exacerbate existing health issues.

A detox may start with a fast, intermittent fasting or a liquid diet for a few days.

While some detox diets start with excluding all calories for a few days and sipping on water or tea, most start with a low calorie liquid diet and intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting can be anything from skipping eating for a day to eating all meals in an eight hour time frame with the balance of the day, 16 hours, without eating. There’s been a lot of animal studies on intermittent fasting and it’s been found to keep rats younger looking and healthier. The first day or two is often devoted to the cleansing portion of a detox.

What else is part of a detox?

Often people give up caffeine and eliminate alcohol and nicotine as part of the detox restrictions. After the initial cleansing phase, often meat is restricted and bland foods, such as brown rice, is part of the detox diet. Sugar is never part of a detox diet, neither is processed food. Some people include herbal teas to stimulate the colon or a colon cleanse, while others include foods with beneficial bacteria to repopulate the friendly bacteria in the system.

Detox diets contain a lot of fiber.

Brown rice, fresh steamed vegetables, fruit and broth are introduced into the diet after the cleansing phase, which normally lasts a couple of days. Foods that aren’t included in this phase are meat, sugar, eggs, wheat and processed foods. In fact, in many cases, people opt to restrict the intake of sugar, wheat and processed food indefinitely.

  • Detox diets, particularly those that involve intermittent fasting, can prove beneficial according to many studies. While the increased consumption of liquids help remove water soluble chemicals, it doesn’t help remove fat soluble ones, which is the most frequent kind. Only weight loss can do that.
  • The raw vegetables in the detox diet can help remove toxins from the liver via their fiber, which also adds bulk to the stool and keep the body elimination system running smoothly.
  • You should consume water frequently on a detox diet, which is a healthy option even when you’re not detoxing. The use of laxative teas and colonics are not recommended. Neither are longer detox diets.
  • The healthiest detox diet is one that includes increasing hydration, a higher consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables and low in alcohol, caffeine, sugar and processed foods.

For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness


Tips For Fitness Newbies

Tips For Fitness Newbies

If you’ve managed to fill up the day every time you’ve considered starting a workout program, you have to wonder why you keep procrastinating. Whether you’ve never worked out or it’s been a while, finding ways to avoid starting is a common problem. The first of the tips for fitness newbies is just do it! Don’t overthink it. Put a time in your schedule specifically for working out. Whether you’re going to start by coming to the gym and starting a program or start more slowly with a walking program, do something!

Judging how much you can do and how hard to workout is tough.

Some people will be surprised at how much they can do, while others new to exercise or who haven’t worked out for a while, will be surprised at how quickly they tire or their lack of strength. If you haven’t worked out for a while or ever worked out, get help from someone who can judge your fitness level. I highly recommend using a personal trainer for a while. The trainer will make sure you work your hardest without overdoing.

Be consistent.

Working out sporadically won’t give you the results you want. A consistent effort is what you need, with a workout schedule. If you don’t have a workout scheduled at the same time each day, you’ll be surprised at how hard it is to maintain your workout schedule. Whether you do it the first thing in the morning, over your lunch hour or after work, making exercise a habit is important. It makes you feel like something is missing when you don’t do it.

Don’t forget to eat healthy.

You can’t out-exercise a bad diet. If you workout for an hour and then gorge yourself on junk food, not only will you gain weight, but you won’t have the nutrients to build muscles and remain healthy. You’ll find that not only does the workout make you feel great, but the healthy eating adds to it. If weight loss is a goal, you have to change bad eating habits that put on weight in the first place.

  • Don’t try to push yourself beyond your limit if it means your form suffers. Having the proper form or each exercise provides more benefits and helps prevent injury.
  • Make sure you warm up and cool down every time you workout. Warming up can help prevent injury and cooling down helps prevent blood pooling that can cause dizziness.
  • Make sure part of your workout program includes things you enjoy. Rock climbing, dancing, hiking and swimming are a few examples of ways to exercise that can be fun. It makes it easier to stick with your workout program.
  • Set goals and track your progress. Your goals should include clearly defined objectives, ways to measure success and a time frame. Winners keep score.

For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness


Eating Healthy Helps You Lose Weight, While You Boost Your Memory

Eating Healthy Helps You Lose Weight, While You Boost Your Memory

Part of any fitness program is eating healthy. Healthy eating can help you lose weight, improve your metabolism and even help build muscle tissue. What most people don’t realize is that it also can aid cognitive thinking and boost your memory. Improved memory and cognitive thinking is important no matter what your job or station in life. A healthy diet is especially important to help maintain brain functioning at both ends of the age spectrum, children and seniors.

Brain food includes spices.

Gingko biloba is one herbal supplement people have taken to boost memory, but there are common herbs and spices that you can use in cooking every day. Turmeric contains curcumin, which has been known to help reduce inflammation, making it important in preventing Alzheimer’s, as well as arthritis, diabetes and even cancer. Black pepper also boosts brain functioning, while boosting the effects of turmeric. Just smelling cinnamon has been proven to increase cognitive functioning, while adding as little as a half teaspoon a day to your diet provides enough of this superfood to protect your brain.

Fish that contain Omega3 fatty acids boost your brain power.

Fatty fish like salmon are not only good for weight loss and a healthy diet, they’re good for your brain. The fat they contain is important for the brain, since it’s about 60% fat, with half of that fat being omega-3 fatty acids. Fatty fish provide the building blocks and eating adequate amounts of omega-3 fatty acids has been shown to slow mental decline and Alzheimer’s. Studies show that an imbalance of omega-6 to omega-3 where there’s too little omega-3 leads to depression and aggression problems. It not only boosts memory and brain functioning, it improves your mood, too.

You’ll get plenty of brain food when you eat healthy.

The B vitamins help nerve and brain functioning, while also enhancing your mood. Foods like whole grains, eggs, dairy, meat, seeds, nuts, dark leafy vegetables and fruits are high in B vitamins. In fact, Eggs are particularly high in choline, grouped in the vitamin B complex. It’s known as a real memory booster. Nuts from trees aid in cognitive functioning and reduce the risk of brain damage. Walnuts are the best types of nuts for the brain. Fruits and vegetables with orange or red coloring are high in vitamin C, which also helps protect the brain.

  • Caffeine, whether from coffee or tea, can improve your concentration and boost your mood. Green tea helps protect the brain and also aids memory. Don’t forget to drink water also. Even slight dehydration can affect your mental powers.
  • Inflammation not only causes serious diseases like cancer and heart disease, it’s also linked to dementia and Alzheimer’s. Any food that’s anti-inflammatory, such as broccoli, can provide that protection.
  • If you want a sweet treat, a small square of dark chocolate can improve your memory and mood. Dark chocolate contains flavonoids that help the brain.
  • You’ll get maximum benefits when you snack on food like blueberries or pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seeds contain minerals like magnesium, copper, iron and zinc that help the brain and blueberries are a powerful antioxidant.

For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness


Get Back On Track After The Holidays

Get Back On Track After The Holidays

From the end of November to the end of the year, there’s a bounty of sweets to tempt you and too many activities that take away from your workout schedule. It’s a new year now and time to get back on track and if you haven’t started a fitness program, time to start one. People in Irvine, CA who get back into the habit in January are glad they did. Not only does it help them stay fit and lose weight, it also helps lift those after holiday blues.

You control the type of year it will be.

Whether you’re going to have a year of regret or one of victory is your decision. It takes focus and determination, which eventually turns into habit. Even if you ate an entire tin of cookies or cleaned your plate several times at one meal during the holidays, it’s a new day and time for you to take charge. Start by focusing on cleaning up your eating habits. It’s going to be tough, especially since a lot of holiday food is loaded with sugar. Start by planning menus and making food ahead for the week, including snacks, so you won’t be tempted to sneak those sugary treats into the grocery cart or be tempted to get carryout on the way home.

While you’re focusing on planning meals, don’t forget to add exercise to your schedule.

It’s easy to skip a workout when you haven’t put it in your schedule. There never seems to be enough time in the day to do it. That’s why adding it to your daily schedule and making it an appointment with the gym is so important. Just like scheduling your workout, scheduling your meals and eating at a specific time can help, too. Try to maintain continuity throughout the week, even on the weekend. It will help get you into a routine.

If you’re getting back in the groove, don’t try to pick up where you left off.

The older you are, the quicker your body loses muscle tissue. If it’s been a month or so since your last workout, you’ll be surprised at how much strength and endurance you’ve lost. Ease into the first few workouts, doing less than you did before you quit for the holidays. You’ll save yourself the potential of injury and the super sore muscles that can cause you to skip your next workout. You’ll be able to get back to your workout within a few weeks without injury.

  • Don’t forget to get adequate sleep. You may have skipped critical hours of sleep during the holidays. Not only does that affect your energy, studies show that lack of sleep can cause you to gain weight.
  • Don’t forget to drink plenty of water. It’s tougher to drink water during the winter months, but you can still get dehydrated during the winter months. Make sure you drink 8-eight ounces of water a day.
  • Don’t just rely on the gym for exercise. Have fun with the family or exercise when you’re watching TV. Going out dancing and taking walks add to your workout schedule.
  • When you get back to the gym or start a fitness program, you’ll realize just how great it feels to burn off the stress of the day with a program of exercise.

For more information, contact us today at Next Level Fitness